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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Premier Stelmach Brought Progressive Conservative Politics Back to Alberta Tonight

OK I heard Premier Stelmach’s TV speech tonight – and I took notes. Overall impression is that the Progressive Conservatives are back and governing the province of Alberta and it is high time.

Tonight Ed Stelmach outlined a fulsome and a comprehensive set of social progressive and fiscal conservative values, principles. He covered a wide range of issues that, as Premier, he wants to deal. And, by the way, he spoke very well too.

He accepts that the management of our growth by the government has not been good. Bloody awful growth management has been the governing hallmark in the past 8 years if you ask me. In fact at Cambridge Strategies Inc. we just completed the first phase of a large discrete choice modeling survey project we are working on and we polled on this issue.

We just asked 1200 Albertans in an on-line survey conducted between October 17 and 22, “of the current political party leaders in Alberta, whom do you trust the most to responsibly manage Alberta’s growth?” This sample size has accuracy within ± 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 BTW.

Guess who won. None of the above! That is right. The actual results were 43.02% answered ‘none of the above’. Ed Stelmach and the Progressive Conservatives garnered 32.9%. Kevin Taft and the Liberals received 10.7%. The NDP earned 6%; the Greens, just over 5%; and the Alliance, 2.2%. There is lots of room for improvement – in every party and for every leader. We will post more on this survey on Policy Channel tomorrow at www.policychannel.com

Our political leadership, regardless of party, is not seen by Albertans as being properly engaged in effectively managing Alberta’s growth. This is going to be a ballot question next election, as is environment. The only thing to change the ballot questions is if the Premier misses the mark on the royalty and related issues tomorrow. Then openness and integrity in government will take centre stage as a ballot box question. That will be because Albertans will react to the Ralph Regime reality of poor royalty monitoring and lax collection practices plus former Ministers of Energy refusing to revise the royalties, even when recommended, for seemingly pure political reasons.

Based on what I heard Premier Stelmach say tonight…he is going to be right on the mark on royalties tomorrow. Tonight he was talking full blown Transformational Option #4 that I described in my blog posting earlier today. Will he go as far as I suggested in today’s post? Time will tell but his heart has always been there and, based on what he said tonight, his head is clearly and concisely there too.

With that approach and that agenda he can move the 43% from “None of the above” into supporting a positive Progressive Conservative policy agenda in the next election. This political philosophy change away from a far-right paternalistic, passively indifferent approach to governing is long overdue in Alberta. That change is coming and it was confirmed tonight as Ed Stelmach decisively distanced himself from the old style politics of the Ralph Klein Regime.

Tomorrow is another day and at 3:00 pm I expect to hear an even more assertive and affirmative Ed Stelmach on royalties. I expect he will lay out a comprehensive, integrated, open, accountable, fair and long term royalty decision that will serve all Albertans well.

Good start tonight Mr. Premier. Now seal the deal tomorrow.